October 26 News: Kuwait Sets Up Biggest Renewable Energy Effort in Gulf with $112 Billion Push, 10% Target for 2010

Other important stories: China Urges End to Climate Talk Deadlock; Cleantech Venture Capitalists Split on Strategy

Solar panels in the desert at Masdar in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Kuwait Sets Biggest Gulf Clean-Energy Goal to Free Up Oil

Sun-drenched Kuwait, a desert nation with no solar-power plants and electricity demand that’s growing about 8 percent a year, has set the most ambitious target for using renewable energy in the Gulf region.

OPEC’s fifth-biggest oil producer, whose air conditioners run cheaply off state-subsidized oil-fired power plants, aims to generate 10 percent of its electricity from sustainable sources by 2020, said Eyad Ali al-Falah, assistant undersecretary for technical services at the Ministry of Electricity and Water.

Kuwait is trying to free up oil for export and expand its generation capacity to support increased tourism, manufacturing and home building in a $112 billion development program. To meet its clean-energy target, which exceeds the 7 percent goal set by Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait next must gather data on sunshine and wind speeds, al-Falah said.

“Renewable energy is a new subject for Kuwait,” al-Falah, who coordinates alternative energy for the ministry, said in an interview at its headquarters outside Kuwait City. “That’s why there’s a lack of information regarding the suitability of renewables for our weather.”


China Urges Way Out of Deadlock in Durban Climate Talks

China’s chief climate official called on developed countries to come up with their own national initiatives to cut carbon emissions in order to avoid “deadlock” at next month’s global climate change talks in Durban, South Africa.

Xie Zhenhua, vice-director of the National Development and Reform Commission in charge of China’s efforts to combat climate change, said a number of countries were unwilling to participate in a binding new global climate pact once the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012.

He told official news agency Xinhua that some nations were unwilling to take part in a second “commitment period” because countries such as the United States had so far refused to accept legally binding CO2 targets, thus threatening the “environmental integrity” of the Kyoto Protocol.

He suggested “comparable” efforts to reduce emissions by both developed and developing nations could help push negotiations along, even if they were not part of the Kyoto Protocol.

Xie said the talks in Durban were unlikely to produce a massive breakthrough.

“Everyone will be dissatisfied, but everyone will be able to accept it,” he was quoted as saying.

A Local Fight Against Global Coal in a Northwest Town

Plans are afoot to build giant new coal terminals on the West Coast to ship this lucrative commodity to China. But activists want to stop this, in part because coal produces huge amounts of carbon dioxide when it’s burned. Federal climate policy is silent on this potentially large source of emissions, so the debate is happening at the local level.

One fight is taking place over a proposed terminal near Bellingham, Wash. And if you want to get a sense of what the proposed coal terminal there would be like, visit the Westshore Terminal just across the border in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Trains a mile-and-a-half long rumble into this port, day and night, snaking through a large building. There, the trains roll onto a device that tips the coal cars over, two at a time, with the ease of a 5-year-old playing with a toy train.

Most of the trains haul Canadian coal, but increasingly the trains are arriving from Wyoming and Montana, loaded with coal that will be burned in Asia to make electricity.

The coal moves from the dumping station up to open conveyor belts. Some of it gets piled up in giant stacks; some gets trundled over to waiting ships. On this day, coal is being poured into a ship bound for Thailand.

In Clean Tech, Venture Capital Looks for Problem Solvers

Shelby Clark, the founder of a start-up called RelayRides, was honored last week as a rising star in clean technology. But as he took the stage alongside companies creating new kinds of energy, he felt out of place.

RelayRides is a car-sharing start-up. Since when did encouraging people to drive carbon-spewing cars qualify as clean tech?

In Silicon Valley, where venture capital dollars nurture fledgling technology companies, clean tech is getting a makeover. Many investors are shying away from the high risks and costs of creating new forms of energy. Instead, they are doing what they do best — using software to cope with problems, in this case caused by climate change.

RelayRides, which lets car owners rent their vehicles to others, takes cars off the road because people can avoid owning them and the service’s users drive less than other people, Mr. Clark said.

“You can have a major impact on an individual’s carbon footprint by re-creating business models or behaviors without inventing a new energy,” he said.

California Lifts Suspension of Green Energy Tax Credit

Members of a state commission unanimously voted to lift a month-long suspension of an alternative energy-related tax credit that had been imposed following the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a politically connected California solar panel company.

The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, after reviewing its operations and the granting of $25.1 million in sales tax credits to Solyndra, concluded it could tighten the way it handles applications.

Joe DeAnda, a spokesman for the commission’s chairman, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, called the program “transparent and accountable.” But he noted that “we can improve the way we evaluate applicants.”

Solyndra, which used a $535-million federal loan guarantee to open a factory in Fremont, Calif., filed for bankruptcy protection Sept. 6. The announcement set off a political controversy in Washington, with allegations that the Obama administration pressured U.S. Department of Energy officials to approve the assistance despite warning signs that the company was in trouble.

California’s support for Solyndra was much smaller than the federal government’s. Solyndra was one of 26 companies that have participated in the California program.

Factbox: Global Climate  Change Risk Rating

Countries and megacities in Africa and Asia are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change over the coming years, a global survey shows, underscoring the risks from floods, rising sea levels, droughts and storms.

With populations in many developing nations growing quickly, particularly in megacities with 10 million or more people, already creaking infrastructure could be overwhelmed by an increase in deadly disasters.

Following are some of the main findings of the survey by risk analysis and mapping firm Maplecroft. The study can help governments and investors adapt to climate change.

Haiti tops the global list of countries and territories most at risk, while Iceland is the least at risk.

Overall, of the countries at the highest, or most extreme risk, most are in Africa and Asia.

Bangladesh, with more than 140 million people and large areas of low-lying land, is ranked number 2, followed by Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Cambodia, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Philippines, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, Swaziland, Uganda, Lesotho, Gambia, South Sudan, Guatemala and Myanmar.

India is 28, Thailand is 37, China 98 and the United States 160.

31 Responses to October 26 News: Kuwait Sets Up Biggest Renewable Energy Effort in Gulf with $112 Billion Push, 10% Target for 2010

  1. Tim says:

    The year in the headline should be 2020.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Kuwait has a population of aprox 3.5 million.

    ” aims to generate 10 percent of its electricity from sustainable sources by 2020″

    Just 10%?

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Kuwait has a GDP (PPP) of US$167.9 billion[48] and a per capita income of US$81,800,[48] making it the 5th richest country in the world, per capita.[10]
    According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, Kuwait has the second-most free economy in the Middle East.[49] In March 2007, Kuwait’s foreign exchange reserves stood at US$213 billion.[50] The Kuwait Stock Exchange, which has about 200 firms listed, is the second-largest stock exchange in the Arab world with a total market capitalization of US$235 billion.[51] In 2007, the Kuwaiti government posted a budget surplus of US$43 billion.[52]
    Kuwait has a proven crude oil reserves of 104 billion barrels (15 km³),[48] estimated to be 10% of the world’s reserves. According to the Kuwaiti constitution, all natural resources in the country and associated revenues are government property.[53] Being a tax-free country, Kuwait’s oil industry accounts for 80% of government revenue. Petroleum and petrochemicals accounts for nearly half of GDP and 95% of export revenues. Increase in oil prices since 2003 resulted in a surge in Kuwait’s economy.

    Kuwait’s current oil production of 2.8 million bpd is expected to increase to 4 million bpd by 2020.[55] To realize this production target, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation plans to spend US$51 billion between 2007 to 2012 to upgrade and expand the country’s existing refineries.[56] However, the country’s economy was badly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008.[57] In 2009, the Central Bank of Kuwait devised a US$5.15 billion stimulus package to help boost the economy.[58]
    Other major industries include shipping, construction, cement, water desalination, construction materials and financial services.[48] Kuwait has a well developed banking system and several banks in the country date back to the time before oil was discovered. Founded in 1952, the National Bank of Kuwait is the largest bank in the country and one of the largest in the Arab world.

    During the 1991 Kuwaiti oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about 35.7 km2 (13.8 sq mi).[44] The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces.[29] The oil spills during the Gulf War also drastically affected Kuwait’s marine resources

    A withering heat wave of unprecedented intensity brought the hottest temperatures in recorded history to six nations in Asia and Africa, plus the Asian portion of Russia, in June 2010….
    The heat was the most intense in Kuwait, which recorded its hottest temperature in history on June 15 in Abdaly, according to the Kuwait Met office. The mercury hit 52.6°C (126.7°F). Kuwait’s previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. Temperatures reached 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital of Kuwait City on June 15, 2010.

  4. David says:

    In addition, their energy consumption is very likely to grow by more than 10% between now and 2020, so there will probably still be growth in non-renewable generation.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    At least nine people have been killed and five others are missing after flash floods hit the Italian Riviera turning roads into rivers and washing cars out to sea.

    The huge downpour had triggered off landslides along some of Italy’s most picturesque coastline, including the Cinque Terre which is a popular destination for British holidaymakers.
    Fire crews and civil protection teams worked their way through the flood ravaged towns of Vernazza and Monterosso where cars were washed into the sea and roads turned into rivers.
    Distraught mayor Angelo Betta said: ”Monterosso does not exist any more.
    “We have lost electricty, gas, telephone lines and we have people missing. Everything is flooded. We need help quickly. It is just a sea of mud everywhere.”

    Officials said that within a 24-hour period, 500mm of rain had fallen and this had led to houses collapsing and roads and train lines subsiding.
    The main railway line linking Rome with the north of Italy was blocked by a landslide north of La Spezia which meant all trains to Genoa were terminating there and there was further chaos for passengers as roads were blocked.

    The Italian capital was hit by a similar severe thunderstorm last week which had left one dead.
    This time round, three members of the same family were killed in the hamlet of Borghetto Vara near La Spezia when the house they were in collapsed.

    Weather officials said the whole of northern Italy was at risk from the heavy rainstorms and flooding was also reported in Venice with the front expected to move south over the next few hours and hit Rome.
    They added that a state of emergency would be declared in the regions of Liguria and Tuscany where the storms had hit with central government providing funds for the clear up.

    Memo to lame stream media, do not mention climate change.

  6. Colorado Bob says:

    Think the heat has retreated ?
    Here’s the month Oct for the US, highs vs lows :
    U.S. Monthly Highest Max Temperature Records set in October 2011- 86
    U.S. Monthly Lowest Max Temperature Records set in October 2011- 1
    U.S. Monthly Highest Min Temperature Records set in October 2011- 89
    U.S. Monthly Lowest Min Temperature Records set in October 2011- 4

  7. Robert In New Orleans says:

    Two good articles about climate change in October issue of Rolling Stone Magazine.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    From Record Warmth To A Snowstorm!

    Drastic Changes Coming as Winter Returns

    Warm south winds boosted temperatures well above average today. Denver hit 80 degrees, beating the existing record of 79, set in both 1999 and 1992. Typically, highs are in the low 60s this time of year. You may have been wearing shorts and t-shirts, but now dig out the winter clothes because you will need them soon!

    A strong storm system will bring in a big drop in temperatures starting on Tuesday. Highs will only be in the 50s as a cold front slides in from the north.

    Denver weather makes an impact as heavy snow snaps tree limbs, bring down power lines

    Wet, heavy snow that began falling along the Front Range and on the Eastern Plains through the night is straining trees, snapping limbs and causing power outages in some areas, especially north of Denver.

    About 60,350 Xcel Energy customers in northeastern Colorado were without power as of 7 a.m., said Michelle Aguayo, a utility spokeswoman.

  9. Paul Magnus says:

    Yep, the end of the world as we know it is neigh.

  10. Chris Winter says:

    Good chart from Der Spiegel on CO2 emissions by countries/regions:

    (h/t: David Appell)

  11. malcreado says:

    It is pretty hot there at night so AC will be running while the sun dont shine. Concentrated SP would be a good idea but PV rolls out a lot faster.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    “Climate Change: From Science to Policy” – webcast videos from the 2011 Stephen H. Schneider Symposium

    Archived webcast videos from the 3-day 2011 Stephen H. Schneider Symposium, “Climate Change: From Science to Policy,” held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, August 24-27, 2011, have been posted online. The 15 Symposium sessions reflected the extraordinary scope of Steve Schneider’s contributions to climate science, scientific assessments, and communication with policymakers and the public.

    The Stephen Schneider website (or, is featuring the complete set of webcast videos for each day of the Symposium as they were recorded by the NCAR staff.

  13. malcreado says:

    Just another day on Eaarth…

  14. prokaryotes says:

    WASHINGTON — One of the most worrisome national security threats of climate change is the spread of disease, among both people and animals, U.S. intelligence and health officials say.

    But more than a decade after such concerns were first raised by U.S. intelligence agencies, significant gaps remain in the health surveillance and response network — not just in developing nations, but in the United States as well, according to those officials and a review of federal documents and reports.

    And those gaps, they say, undermine the ability of the U.S. and world health officials to respond to disease outbreaks before they become national security threats.

    “We’re way behind the ball on this,” said Josh Michaud, who has worked at the Defense Department’s National Center for Medical Intelligence and its Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System. “It’s a collective action problem.”

    Michaud said monitoring currently was done largely through publicly available medical information and mathematical modeling, but that’s hardly enough to spot sudden disease trends quickly.

    U.S. intelligence officials list the spread of disease as one of their top four climate change-related security concerns, along with food and water scarcity and the impact of extreme weather on transportation and communications systems. Outbreaks of disease can destabilize foreign countries, especially developing nations, overtax the U.S. military and undermine social cohesion and the economy at home.

    In coming decades, more heat, humidity and rainfall could allow mosquitoes, ticks and other parasites and carriers of tropical and subtropical diseases to spread to areas where they didn’t exist previously, infecting populations that haven’t built up resistance to them, intelligence and health officials say.”

  15. prokaryotes says:

    Living Planet: Climate wars


    Is it an exaggeration to talk of climate wars? We hear from soldiers and doctors who fear the security and health implications of climate change are not being appreciated. We also hear about Germany’s diffidence towards electric cars, a novel idea for recharging electric devices and Europe’s problem with electric waste.You can listen to the show online or subscribe to Living Planet as a podcast. Click on the links below for the individual items. Doctors partner with soldiers to warn of climate conflictsIn recent years, military planners have begun taking the threat of climate change seriously.

    30 mins podcast

  16. prokaryotes says:

    i have a comment in moderation, about KUwait’s last year temperature record and economy.

  17. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Forget about coming decades – it has been happening here for years. A friend of mine caught dengue fever in Lismore, a long way south of the tropics, and my dog got a tropical fungus never before seen south of Sydney. Then there’s the locusts and mice. Down here, everything is marching, or flying, South at the rate of knots, ME

  18. prokaryotes says:

    Massey Energy’s Upper big Branch Mine

    Official convicted in W.Va. mine disaster that killed 29
    Head of security guilty of obstructing investigation by dumping documents

    Think Progress reported:

    Don Blankenship Called Safety Regulators ‘As Silly As Global Warming’

    Investors Call For Resignation Of Massey ‘Safety’ Directors

    Don Blankenship’s Record Of Profits Over Safety: ‘Coal Pays The Bills’

  19. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    What better place to Tap Solar Energy than Gulf Region. Gulf Countries though oil rich have money to invest in Renewables.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    Wind Energy Expert

  20. Colorado Bob says:

    Drought-Stricken Texas Ranchers Ask Perry For Hay

    Parsons says there are places in the nation where there is a surplus of hay and it could be brought to Texas, but ranchers can’t afford the high fuel costs for transport. They are asking Governor Rick Perry to authorize using state funds for the emergency drought relief.

    Sarah Parsons: In dire circumstances what we really need is government intervention is we are going to keep these small ranchers and farmers afloat and prevent them from completely losing their livelihoods.

  21. Colorado Bob says:

    (AP) BANGKOK — Tens of thousands of people jammed bus stations and highways to flee Thailand’s capital as flood forecasts turned more grim and the first official evacuations were ordered.

    Floodwaters bearing down on the metropolis of 9 million people have killed 373 people nationwide since July, caused billions of dollars in damage and shut Bangkok’s second largest airport. The capital has mostly escaped unscathed, but residents are preparing for flooding that seems all but inevitable.

  22. Colorado Bob says:

    The rains extended into Wednesday, causing more destruction. The Italian Army was sent in to assist civil protection rescue workers, and President Giorgio Napolitano said on television that climate change was the cause of the disaster.

    “This is the very painful price we are unfortunately paying,” he said.

  23. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Latest news is that they are now evacuating the first set of evacuations centres as they are now flooded, ME

  24. Colorado Bob says:

    Floods lap again across Nigeria as governments remain inept, raising risk of cholera, death
    Nigeria’s rainy season normally begins in June and last for months. This year, however, the country has seen increased rain fall, particularly in the southwestern city of Ibadan. There, more than 100 people died in late August after a dam flush with rainwater overflowed, sending a rushing flood that destroyed bridges and neighborhoods.

  25. Esesli says:

    i have a comment in moderation, about KUwait’s last year temperature record and economy.